This Saturday at Martinsville is going to be a big one for NASCAR Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney and his team, or so they hope. Blaney has been good at Martinsville in the past, however, he hasn’t been able to close the race out, despite putting up fast laps and a good car. He has two runner-up finishes in 2020 to look back on. His average finish is better than 6th place at the historic track.
So, the expectations are pretty high for when the No. 12 lines up for a chance at the checkered flag and the grandfather clock. The Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 400 is not going to be easy. This is Blaney’s 13th start, however, all the experience in the world won’t help you when you get pressed against the wall.
Last week’s race in Richmond was on a D-shaped oval. 0.75 miles long. However, Martinsville is even smaller, at just 0.526-miles. That makes the tire strategy important once more. It always is on short tracks, and it comes down to executing at the end of the race.
“I feel like three of the last four times we’ve been there, we’ve had a really good shot to win that race and probably had the best car and just we did not execute at the end of that race,” the driver explained to NASCAR.com. “Kind of gave those away, to be honest with you. That’s something we’ve tried to work on – being able to rise to the occasion coming down to late pit stops and just not making mistakes. Hopefully, we’ve gotten that better. You just never know how you’re going to run at these places, especially with the new car.”
It’s a tall task for the 7-time NASCAR Cup Series race winner, Ryan Blaney.
NASCAR’s Ryan Blaney Wants a Win, But There’s a New Challenge
These short-track races have gotten interesting very fast. Although just one has been raced so far this season, there’s a new challenge. Joe Gibbs Racing has changed up its pit stops, and already we’ve seen the results of the new configuration. A NASCAR record for Kyle Busch and his team for having the fastest pit stop ever. 9.1 seconds on a full four-tire change and fuel up.
Still, NASCAR’s Ryan Blaney is focused on doing what they do well and not worrying about the other things.
“Hopefully you can still use some of the things you did well with the old car at this track that you can apply to the new car,” the driver said. “You don’t really know that until you get out there and practice and get into the race and see how everything’s going. A little bit is known, but a lot of it is unknown.”
This weekend at Martinsville is going to be fun. There should be some great racing, a fun atmosphere, and one of the most historic tracks in all of NASCAR and stock car racing. The past can teach these drivers a thing or two. However, the Next Gen cars change almost every aspect of the race now. Can’t wait for that green flag to drop! Oh, and don’t forget, Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to the Xfinity Series this weekend as well.